Pride History in Scotland

Pride has its origins in the riots following raids on New York City’s LGBT+ community, specifically the Stonewall Inn, back on 28th June 1969.

The community fought back that night and resisted intimidation and arrest. They did so again the next night and then the next. Within 6 months they had formed the first gay activist organisation in the city to protect the local community and to provide safe places for LGBT+ people to meet – the long political fight for equality had begun.

On 28th June 1970, the first ‘gay pride’ marches were held in NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco in commemoration of the events a year earlier at Stonewall.

Since then, Pride has reached every corner of the globe, with millions attending Pride events annually in major towns and cities.

Here in the UK, London would be the first major city to host a Pride march in 1972, but it would take until 1995 for the first Pride march on Scottish soil!

In Edinburgh on 17th June 1995 a march set off from Barony Street, organised by members of the Edinburgh University LGBT Society, and an estimated 3,000 people marched and protested until it reached The Meadows.

Events were held annually between Edinburgh and Glasgow, with some additional one-off Pride events in smaller cities, until more towns and regions joined the Pride movement in 2015.

Since then, the Pride events have grown significantly, with over 70,000 people taking part in Pride marches around Scotland in 2019.

Pink Saltire have supported the formation of the Scottish Pride Organisers Network, a new group for organisers to share ideas, challenges, resources and support. The network now has representatives from every Pride in Scotland, with over 50 members.

Through our community work, we have also established Pride organisations in a number of Scottish locations, including founding events in Fife, Dundee, Perthshire, Forth Valley and our own Pink Pride. We’ve provided direct support to other groups to help establish their committee or governance structure, including in Oban, Dunoon, Grampian, Orkney, Arran and Bute.

Check out our short film about the history of Pride in Scotland – ‘Oor Pride’ – by filmmaker Lisa Emily Petersen and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, released in 2021.

Pride Host Locations:

1995 – Edinburgh

1996 – Glasgow

1997 – Edinburgh

1998 – Glasgow

1999 – Edinburgh

2000 – Glasgow

2001 – Edinburgh

2002 – Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Dumfries, Falkirk

2003 – Edinburgh, Aberdeen

2004 – Glasgow, Aberdeen

2005 – Edinburgh, Aberdeen

2006 – Glasgow

2007 – Edinburgh

2008 – Glasgow, Dumfries

2009 – Edinburgh

2010 – Edinburgh, Glasgow

2011 – Edinburgh, Glasgow

2012 – Edinburgh, Glasgow

2013 – Edinburgh, Glasgow

2014 – Edinburgh, Glasgow

2015 – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston, Free Pride (Glasgow)

2016 – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston, Alloa, Free Pride (Glasgow)

2017 – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston, Kirkcaldy, St Andrews, Free Pride (Glasgow)

2018 – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston, Kirkcaldy, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Bute, Hebrides, Inverness, Trans Pride Scotland (Edinburgh), St Andrews, Free Pride (Glasgow)

2019 – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Livingston, Kirkcaldy, St Andrews, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Bute, Oban, Cockenzie, MardiGla (Glasgow), Trans Pride Scotland (Dundee), Hebrides, Ayr, East Kilbride, Inverness, Alloa, Alexandria, Free Pride (Glasgow)

2020 – all in-person events cancelled due to COVID pandemic. Some digital highlights from 2020 here.

2021 – some events continue to be impacted by COVID restrictions. For the latest, check here.